Friday 22 August 2014

Holten Premium European Cup

After Kitzbuhel I travel with Marc Austin and Grant Sheldon to Majorca for a training camp before heading on to Holten, Holland.

I managed to loose my race flats at Kitzbuhel, I wore them back across to the lake to do a swim warm down after I finished the race. I walked back to the athlete lounge without them and once I remembered and went back for them they were gone and nobody seemed to know where there would be a lost and found.

Left me in a difficult spot because as I traveled straight to Mallorca for a sharpening up camp, I now had no flats for fast sessions and what was worse I had no flats for my race in Holten a week and half later.

Thankfully Ladi who works from the Ferrera Hotel we were saying at works as a  rep for ‘On running’ shoes. He was good enough to lend me a pair on On CloudRacers. They are awesome shoes, comfortable snug fit and super fast.
I was lucky enough to get to keep the pair that I was borrowing and am maybe going to start wearing the On shoes for the Commonwealth Games and beyond.

Disaster struck in the middle of the camp. On a jog out to some trails to do a Saturday session I went over on my ankle, not what I wanted a week before Holten and 3 weeks before the Commonwealth Games but sh!t happens.

I managed it as best I could and it settle enough to justify still going to Holten.

I traveled to Holten and actually had a very good race.

Swim was ok nothing special. My lack of kicking in the swim made it hard to get out fast but managed to do enough to exit the swim on the fringe of the front pack. First part of the bike was strung out and with a long drag of exposed roads to get from the swim venue into the town the power was down until the front pack formed.

There was a decent hill on each lap, who would have thought; a big hill in Holland but it was true. I wasn’t sure how the ankle would hold up on the run so I worked the hill hard to at least use it as a session for Glasgow and get something out of the race. Not to try and get away but just not to hide.

Onto the run I actually felt good. I ran out of T2 in the 1st couple and unlike other races I wasn’t falling through the field. I had a good first 5km, 3rd lap I felt the bite and 4th lap I popped. I finished 19th; pretty respectable against a good field and especially after the struggles of the week leading in.

Time to head back to Stirling for my Final Prep before the games; Exciting times J

Kitzbuhel European Senior Champs.

Kitzbuhel European Senior Champs.

First Senior European Champs.

Not a very good day at the office but what an experience.

Awful swim; smashed at the buoys and lost a lot of placing and resulted in having to work very hard to swim up the outside to get out in a half decent position.

On to the bike and it was time to get a move on. Unfortunately there was very few willing to work in order to catch the front of the race, something I will never understand. It’s never game over. Thankfully I had Conor Murphy and Matt Sharp willing to work as well and there wasn’t too many more pulling turns but we caught up to the front halfway through the bike. Time to sit in and get ready for the run.

Great transition and out right at the front – but that didn’t last long, my legs were cooked and I was on an express train backwards through the field again. Super frustrating that I am unable to put a run together off a bike even though the training is telling me I am more than capable.

Loved racing senior Europeans, learnt a lot and I will be back to stay up near the front for longer than the 1st 800m of the run.

Dunkerque French Grand Prix

This was my 1st ever French Grand Prix race, and long awaited, I had my team all last season but due to injuries, other races and lack of form to justify selection I didn’t race for them.
This year after a half decent performance in Chengdu I was given a start for the team which I was really looking forward to. It is a great change to race for a team in such an individual sport. Although everyone is focused on their own race its all about getting the best place possible in order to have the highest possible team placing.

Dunkerque is renowned for a crazy swim. 1st buoy at 220 meters its all about getting out rapid and avoid the carnage. Thankfully I can said I did that and probably had my best swim of my season so far; I got there very close to the front and that was job done, sit in for the rest of the 750m swim. I managed to get into a lead group of 11 with some top boys, Mola, Royle, Benson, Belaubre et al and it was pressure on to stay away. We didn’t put much time into the field after the 1st lap. We just held the gap and stayed away.

Hit the run and my legs knew that it was the 3rd race in consecutive weekends, they didn’t play ball and to add to it neither did my stomach, at this level if you aren’t moving forward at a rate of knots you feel like you are moving backwards faster than forward as the rest of the field cruise past.

So that was my 1st FGP, 33rd and a pretty good 2/3 of a race, unfortunately missing the most important 1/3, but team was happy I was flying the flag up near the front for so long so that was a positive.

Great experience and a big thanks thank to TCG79 Parthenay  for everything over the weekend- it was honor to race for them and cant wait for the next one.

Sunday 8 June 2014

Yokohama World Series '14

What can I say, what an experience.

It was my 1st World Series Triathlon, racing with the guys that I am usually watching on my laptop, instead I was on that same start line with them.

This race was a little different, we tried something new in the form of me being there in a domestique type role, unfortunately it didn't go to plan and resulted in my race being over quite early.
 I still came away from it learning a lot and hungry for more, I know I can be up there with the best and its only a matter of time, I am happy with the direction I am going and cant wait to my next opportunity.

It was a great trip to Asia with two big races and I return home with a lot to think about and take forward into my training and racing in order to progress.

Chengdu World Cup '14

Chengdu , China; my 2nd triathlon of 2014 and it would be my 2nd ever World Cup triathlon after having my 1st at the end of last season in Alicante. This time I was looking forward to a better race and was ready to make more of an impact at this new, higher level of racing. Thankfully I can report that I had a much better race, probably actually one of my 1st triathlons that I have managed to put all the pieces of puzzle together and performed across all disciplines.

It was a great adventure traveling to China for the 1st time and racing on a course that had been designed and built specifically for triathlon. A man made lake, undulating bike course and even tunnels built underneath resulting in spectators never having to cross the field of play in order to reach a different vantage points. It was very impressing and a great atmosphere with the course being lined with spectators.

The hotel we were hosted in was amazing making our stay very comfortable, it was also fantastic to have a massive 8 lane 50m swimming pool right beside our hotel, even if the water temperature was only 20*C. (Its not often you bring a wetsuit to a race and only use it in the pool and not in the lake.)  

Onto the race- I finished 25th in a field of 75, of which I went into ranked 67th; its all about moving up in the world.  Resulting in me jumping up the world rankings 75 places, a trend I want to continue to replicate and better throughout the season in order to become a real contender on the world stage.

Besides being happy with my performance, mistakes were made and there is plenty more work to be done. I made a few tactical errors in the swim resulting in coming out of the water a lot lower than usual but thankfully still safely in the front pack. I cant really say much about the bike leg as the 40km went past at a pedestrian pace meaning that it all came down to a foot race.

I managed to avoid a crash at the end of the bike, which opened up a clear path for me to get up to the front of the pack coming into T2. This helped me to get out onto the run near the front and allowed for a more relaxed 1st 1km without the usual mad scramble, I got straight into a good rhythm and managed to put together a decent run even though I started to find the heat a challenge near the end; it’s always going to be tough being a pasty white ginger boy.

The day after it was nice to relax and get the opportunity to be a bit of a tourist, it was an awesome experience to see panda’s in China.

It was then time to pack up again and fly to Japan for my next big experience, my biggest race to date my 1st World Series Triathlon. On the start line with the big guns…

Saturday 26 April 2014

Quarteira European Cup 2014

This was my 1st triathlon of the 2014 season and it was a good way to blow the cobwebs away.

I have to admit that I was pretty disappointed with my finishing result; 27th
I went into the race ranked 26th so didn’t quite beat my start number. Although I was still very pleased with certain parts of my race.

I was pretty pleased with my swim, coming out around 10th in tough conditions; Quarteira is always renowned for having a rough wavy swim but I was happy to have a solid swim and still feel quite comfortable.
The bike was solid with a steep hill every lap and I felt really good on the hill and on the bike in general, maybe leading to the downfall of my race. On hind sight I was maybe a little over enthusiastic on the bike, leading to a below par run.

The benefit of being towards the front of the bike means for plenty of pictures, 

Unfortunately the run was not as good as the swim and the bike. I struggled to get into my running on the 1st lap and fell back through the field, I tried moving through from the 2nd lap onwards which i did picking back some places but the 1st lap of the run really killed of the hopes of a good result. 

You don't get photos taken of you in the positions that I was running, but thanks must go to Luis Santos for the great pictures, of the bike ( and also a cool video -

Next for me is a World Cup Triathlon in Chendgu, China. Hopefully I will be able to find the final piece of the puzzle and get all parts of the triathlon to click together, to come away with a good overall result.